Saturday, September 30, 2006

Great Papelbon News...YES!!

This from today's Globe, and then a comment from me. I always have to get a word in, eventually....

"Having thrown 20 pitches, mainly fastballs, off a mound Tuesday ("nice and fluid, with some movement," Francona said), Jonathan Papelbon threw off flat ground yesterday and should throw to hitters today.
"Strong as can be," Papelbon said. I can go into the offseason having a clear conscience, knowing I can push myself."

Peter here. And WE can go into the early stages of fall knowing that Jonathon is OK, ready to go, and able to return to the rotation healthy and ready to thwart opposing batters as if they held toothpicks instead of bats. But his exact role with the club, starter or reliever, is a "still to be determined" issue. As it should be right now. There is no other closer. Not one who can dominate with a one run lead. NOT YET. And until the club does something about that, and right now Foulkie has a long way to go to step into those shoes, Paps is our closer for next year. Stay tuned. Right here. ALL WINTER LONG. Oh, and by the way, I am predicted 3 major Nor'easters, with snow in excess of 15 inches and winds and tides a factor at the shoreline, for this winter of '06-'07. And that forecast is for New England, southern and central New England, mainly Connecticut, Mass. and Rhode island. Keep it here. Every day. I need ya!

Silly String

Game 160 is in the books, a 4 to 3 Sox victory over the punchless Orioles, who have lost 14 of 16 so far to the Sox. Julian Tavarez pitched 5 OK innings, and the bullpen, with Foulke and Timlin bringing up the rear, was effective in earning the save. It's just that there is little spark or substance when it comes to these remaining games. The drama is elsewhere, as Roger Clemens failed to get the victory for the Astros and the Dodgers and Padres remained tied. It was reported that RJ has a bulging disk that might prevent him from pitching in the opening round of post season play. I never root for injuries no matter how much I hate a certain team, so I have no comment. Which is more than I can say about the "always ready with a quote" Kevin Millar, who said this about what might have happened had the Sox held on to him. I'll leave you with his words, and I'll see you later today. Heeeere's Kevin......."I would have been a cheap babysitter for Manny. He wouldn't have quit with me around." Hmmm........

Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday, September 29th...Today And The Weekend At Fenway

"Outside the street's on fire
In a real death waltz.
Between what's flesh and what's fantasy.
And the poets out there write nothing at all.
They just stand back and let it all be."

And that's what we have to do, too. We might be watching our last three games with the beloved Trot Nixon. I hope not. With all my heart. Trot is the original dirt dog. His defensive skills, right now in 2006, are by far the best suited to patrol a very tough Fenway Park right field. No one does it better. So we hope. We hope that he will be out there in early April of 2007. And we enjoy the last series at Fenway...a cool and beautiful three days to come as the rain ushers in a new Canadian air mass.

Oh, and the lyrics are from Bruce Springsteen, from 1975. The song, from the album BORN TO RUN,is called JUNGLELAND. An anthem landmark. It does not get any better. Never will.

And Then There Were Three

Three with the Orioles and then a long fall and winter of non-baseball activities. When the shadows lengthen as the sun's angle increases and the cold winds blow the fluffy white powder into growing piles of slippery winterness. Ya gotta love it. I'll be here to write about each and every one of these three concluding chapters of Red Sox baseball 2006. See you then, if not before.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Beckett BOMB

And so his season ended as the ball streaked into the Monster seats. Mercifully it was over, boos cascading around the old park. 9 runs ended up scoring in that 7th inning, more than any other inning in two years. What a difference a night makes. And third place is ours again. That will change this weekend, as the Orioles come to town for the final three. And yes, it could have been worse. How? This could have been game number 162.
I really don't have anything to add about Wednesday night. I've written about every one of the preceding 159 games. The well has run dry. UNTIL TOMORROW NIGHT. Inspiration? There was none to be found at Fenway Park last night. None at all. Sad.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Another Manny Post. And Manny, Do This For Us!

I wrote a post yesterday, and if you scroll down, you'll see it right there, just after my happy post about last night at Fenway. Curt and need to say more. Read that, if you haven't, and then come back here. Fast forward to Wednesday at 12:11 EDT........RIGHT NOW.....

And this is me......for you readers that disagreed with me about my earlier Manny post, read on. I do see your point. CLEARLY. I was momentarily pissed at Mr. Ramirez, I know his knee hurts, but I was so hopeful that he would try, he would try HIS DAMNDEST, to get in there for Papi's night. Turns out we didn't need him. But tonight, and then the final '06 three games of the season, would be better with him playing at least two. Maybe not tonight (Wed.), Johnny Pesky's night, but there's reason enough RIGHT THERE to see you, Manny. I hope, at the least, we'll see you Friday. We need to see your face. I KNOW WE WILL. As John Lennon said, while with the Beatles in 1964, "You've got a lucky face!" YOU DO!!!!

Curt And Papi. Oh My, What A Night!

Curt Schilling made his last start one of his best of the season, going seven innings and allowing 6 hits, one run and striking out nine with 101 economical pitches. He was on. Tito allowed him to warm up before the eighth inning only to pull him before throwing a pitch, allowing the 36,000 plus fans to stand and cheer, saying goodbye and we'll see you next year, Curt. Our ace.
And then there was Papi. Oh yes! Honored in a brief but sweet ceremony before the game with the daughter of Jimmy Fox and the granddaughter of the Babe, he clobbered his 54th home run in the third inning. He had two other hits, and the crowd saluted him every chance it had. It was a magical night at Fenway, the way things might have been. If only.....
We are back in second place. And we have one game with Tampa Bay left, and then the Orioles come in for the final weekend at Fenway. And after last night, sweetness abounds at our fair park. Ain't it nice?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Manny Being Manny, AGAIN

Tuesday, and the story is the same. Again, and again, and...........

It looks like Manny Ramirez needs another night off to rest his ailing knee.

Tonight's Red Sox starting lineup according to Boston sports radio WEEI:

1. Kevin Youkilis, 1B
2. Mark Loretta, 2B
3. David Ortiz, DH
4. Trot Nixon, RF
5. Mike Lowell, 3B
6. Jason Varitek, C
7. Wily Mo Pena, CF
8. Eric Hinske, 1B
9. Alex Gonzalez, SS
-- Curt Schilling, P

Peter here. No comment typed, but a big one in my mind. Starts with a P, and ends with a UTZ.

A Papi-licious Night!

From the Herald, today....

"The Sox will honor David Ortiz’ record-breaking home run accomplishments in a pre-game ceremony at Fenway Park tonight. The festivities will include Nanci Foxx Canaday and Linda Ruth Tosetti. Ortiz broke the club record for homers established by Foxx Canaday’s father, Jimmie Foxx, 68 years ago, while equaling the AL record for road homers set by Tosetti’s grandfather, Babe Ruth, in 1927."

Peter here, and the ceremony, more than the game itself, will be something to see in these last moments of baseball '06. And Manny might be in the lineup. I hope the rest helped his knee...he WAS in pain. We know that. Oh, and Schill will be on the hill, in what will probably be his last start of the season. And we want second place back. For good. So tonight, Papi, it is YOUR night. I'll be tuned to NESNHD, and cheering.


Zero runs. Two hits. TWO!! And 3rd place couldn't be in better hands. What else can I say....a guy with an ERA around 5 at the start of the game destroying the Red Sox with numbers like that. It adds up to my shortest game post ever. How short? Two hits worth. I'll be back later when the bitter taste of yesterday's goings on have receded. If only just a little.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Papi And The Babe!

This from the Herald, and then a quick comment from me.

" Three days after breaking Jimmie Foxx’s club record for home runs in a single season by belting his 51st and 52nd at Fenway Park, Ortiz tied Babe Ruth’s American League record for road homers by clobbering his 32nd in the first inning of the Red Sox’ sloppy 13-4 loss to the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
The designated hitter crushed Gustavo Chacin’s full-count slider into the right field seats for his 53rd homer and his 32nd away from Fenway, which equaled the mark Ruth set with the New York Yankees in 1927."

Peter here, and wow! Papi, a job well done. We love you.


I've said it before and I'll say it again. Wily Mo Pena does not belong in a major league outfield. Yesterday in Toronto, his defensive play in right field was ludicrous. He misplayed 3 balls, and he did it badly. All the more reason to re-sign Trot. Having this bozo playing rightfield for 2007, even if he platoons with someone, is a recipe for disaster. I hope the powers that be know what the hell they're doing. Youk had troubles in left, but he gets a pass. He's an infielder subbing for vacationing Manny. And yes, I said vacationing. Oh, the Sox lost bigtime, 13-4. They looked like the third place team they're about to be, in a performance that made me want to end this season 6 games early. Pitiful. That's it. No need to write more. Not about this one. As the title says, P U.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Elimination Day

We all knew it was coming. Elimination, on the 23rd of September, on a warm fall evening. Too early, but inevitable these last few weeks. Now starts the building of the 2007 team. The manager and front office must use these last seven games as a chance to look at and evaluate the young talent and make sure they can be incorporated into the 2007 team. So we'll see many unfamiliar names out there. Heck, we already have with all the injuries, the injuries that killed any chance of a post season in 2006. And the big decisions that are yet to come: Trot, Manny, and all the rest that will be the subjects of future posts. This blog is a year round adventure. The off season will be full of Red Sox news, and also an exploration of everyday life and noteworthy news events. So stick around, ya hear? One other thing.....we have two more against the Jays. To lose both would be flirting with third place. The Red Sox, as I said in an earlier post, are not a third place team. For the record, the Jays beat the Red Sox Saturday, 5-3. Let's make sure that doesn't happen today, or Monday.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Not About Baseball. About Life. And Death. And A Friend. And Hope....

I have to write this, and it isn't light. I lost a friend, oh, in March of 2004. And yes, he loved the Sox. I'd known him since the 70s, and he was my closest friend for so long. But 2 Springs ago, Febrarary/March of '04, while the Sox were revving up in Florida for their 2004 season of forever, he was not a happy guy. He was seeing a doctor for therapy, but it wasn't until March, when he asked me, out of the blue, if he could drive over and use my garage. My garage? I said, "Stephen, you're welcome to stop by anytime, for a movie, or any sports event in HD." And UCONN was playing too. Long story short, he told
me the next day, in tears, that he wanted to park the car in my garage (unattached building, but right near my front door) and never come out. I was floored. He had been unhappy for some time, but there is a huge difference between being unhappy and scheduling a one way trip into someone's (his best friend's) garage. Well, he went into a hospital help center for suicidal people (I was still shocked), came home after 5 days,and seemed better. But he was not the Stephen that I grew up with, the one who enjoyed with me so many mammoth Bruce Springsteen concerts, a guy with life in front of him and we were doing our damndest to enjoy every fiber of that life. 2 days later, I got a call from his finacee that when she went out to the supermarket for 15 minutes...15 FUCKING MINUTES, he had trudged down the steps to his basement and pulled a noose over his head, around his neck. By the time she arrived at the condo, she found him hanging, still warm but clearly...not there. She cut him down and called 911 within seconds, but.....
For the next few days, until the funeral and burial, I wracked my brain, my being, agonizing if I had done something wrong. Did I not recognise the signals, only days after he was in the hospital? Everyone told me there was nothing I could do.
This is now coming up on on 2 and a half years ago. I miss him big time. A part of life? Bullshit. It was a part of death. And this is the first time I've been able to type about it, at least with my unmasked feelings included.
And go Big Papi...number 50, and then 51, and then 52! My friend would have loved see, Stephen would have wanted me to say something about the Sox. And thank you for being my constant readers, to borrow the words of another Stephen, Stephen King. I love you all. But you know that.

7 UP

Where was Julian Tavarez when we needed help with the rotation? Well, we know where he was. And he was struggling. Now, in his last 5 starts, he's 2-0 with a 3.77 ERA. Not bad. Not bad at all. And last night he spun a beauty, a complete game 7 hitter. And the offense backed him up just fine, thank you, scoring 7 runs. It was sevens all around, and the Sox seem to have a grip on second place in their AL East quest. Look for Tavarez in the rotation next year, especially now that we hear the news that Matt Clement left the club yesterday to go home. What's up with that? Tito said he would address the situation today. So I guess we'll see. Doesn't bode well for next year though. Mike Lowell's 2 run homer in the second was the big blow. We need you back next year, Mikey. Oh, and speaking of next year, Coco Crisp has played his last game of the year, maybe of his career, for the club because his finger, yes, the same one, is broken and needs to be operated on. So long Coco. You were a major disapointment. And Manny has been taking batting practice and watching videos of his swings. We might see him before the season dwindles into nothingness. But wait!! I just heard that, through his agent, Manny has yet again demanded that the club trade him in the off season. What??? Should Manny be Manny somewhere else? Until this little tidbit of earthshaking news came to me, I was solidly of the opinion that Manny, batting 4th, behind our Papi, was a match made in Heaven. And now? Holy crap! Readers, I need your comments, pro, con, or something else. Please! But for now we have 3 more games with Toronto. We are not a third place club. Watch. And see.

Friday, September 22, 2006


This game was a gem from first pitch to last. Josh Beckett had everything working for eight innings, painting the corners, changing speeds and keeping the Minnesota batters guessing until the very end. If only he had this type of stuff all season. At least it looks like he was listening to Tek's call of the game, for he didn't try to overpower every batter with the fastball. That leads to home runs. None were to be had, not against last night's Josh.
And then there was Papi. There will only be one Papi, and we get to watch him now. Aren't we lucky? He bashed his first pitch of the evening into the bleachers behind the bullpen. 51. Everyone was delirious. But he was not finished. In his final at bat of the night he turned on a pitch and sent it into the centerfield bleachers. 52. September thrills alive and well at Fenway, if only for a night. And the Red Sox are still alive, barely, for the wild card, as they beat Minnesota 6-0. A good time was guaranteed for all. RSN smiles. Amid tears of joy

Thursday, September 21, 2006

50 Reasons To Love Papi

The clock read 4 minutes before 9 PM. The drive was a monster shot into the crowd. And history was matched for David Ortiz as number 50 was official. He is tied with Jimmy Foxx for the club record, and the Fenway crowd saluted him, not to mention the tens of thousands watching on television and listening to radio. I stood up and cheered, but in the end it was the Minnesota Twins who emerged the victors, thanks in large part to Craig Hansen's disasterous 4 batter outing. He is not ready for prime time, not yet. He walked off to the sound of boos. Deservedly so. Schilling labored through 5 innings, throwing more than 100 pitches, but it was good to see him back. It might have been Minnesota's game, but it was Papi's night. And now he goes for 51, a club record. It couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
On a side note, Manny's good friend Julian Tavarez told the media that Manny is all done this year. And that's good. Surgery will not be needed.
So the Nation holds it breath in anticipation of number 51, and beyond. They play the Twins again at Fenway, and then go to Toronto. But the last 5 games? At home. Where we belong.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Trot In '07...How Great Would That Be.....

This from today's Herald, and then the usual from me.....

"At age 32, making $6.5 million this season, with the younger, more powerful Wily Mo Pena around, it would seem Trot’s days are numbered. It’s a tribute to him that’s he’s lasted this long in one place, especially with the allure of free agency.
“I’ve wanted to play here. My passion is to play here,” Nixon said. “Maybe I’ve done things right. I might not have all the ability in the world, I don’t put up super monster numbers year after year, but I try to play the game right, and maybe that’s why management has wanted me to play here.”
And maybe that’s why his heart is telling him they’ll want him to play here again."

Peter here, and oh yes, my heart tells me in no uncertain terms that Trot will be back next year, to patrol the elusively tough right field at Fenway Park. He's no Dewey Evans, but defensively he is in a different league than anyone else who runs out there, to the toughest field to play defensively at our Fenway. Right field. He's light years better. And just for that reason, I hope the management will sign him to a reasonable short term, say 2 year, contract. I think Trot would go for that in a heartbeat.....Trot won't be looking for a 3 or 4 year deal that was dangled, and then not, to Johnny Damon. He'd be affordable (listen up John Henry) and he will provide the best right field glove that we have right now, for another two years. Case closed. At least for me. Comments welcome, but don't compare Wily Mo's defense in this, the toughest outfield that Fenway offers. I've seen Dewey play live dozens of times at the Fens, and WMP is an embarassment. TROT '07! Spread the word.

Oh, and Curt Schilling starts tonight, maybe Papi's 50th home run night, maybe not. But a good performance by Schill is what he'd like to see, and of course, so would we. And the medical people are re-examining Manny's knee today. I think he should be shut down and that knee thoroughly examined, scoped and cleaned out, IF NECESSARY. So he'll be ready for '07 also, batting fourth, where he has Papi's back. No one on Earth does THAT any better.

Wet Not Wild

This game was as dreary as the wet conditions in Boston, as Tim Wakefield, pitching in front of a buzzing crowd, was battered and bruised and gone by the end of the fourth inning as the Minnesota Twins beat the Red Sox 7-3. They clearly showed why they are in the thick of a playoff race. And the hot hitter? Justin Morneau, who padded his MVP-like numbers by going 5-5. He almost singlehandedly outhit the Sox, who scraped out 7 hits. And Big Papi went 0-5. Hey, I was glad they pitched to him. He had some pitches to hit. He just didn't. Simple. The man's human.
The Yankees are one game from clinching. It was just a matter of time. And speaking of time, there are 12 hours until the start of Papi Watch game 2. Tonight at Fenway, against the Twins. We'll do it again. But this time with no rain and cooler temperatures. Baseball watching weather. Winning weather.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Nation Turns Its Anguished Eyes To Papi

The nation is Red Sox Nation. Anguished? Yes, in the sense that the season is over. Not mathmatically, but the result is certain just the same. Sure, we staved off the Yankee celebration, and we looked good doing it. They'll have their hands full in the post season. That will be nice to see. But now, three games at our Fenway. Papi sitting on 49 home runs, and trying to tie the mark of 50 set by a man named Foxx. Minnesota is in town, their playoff hopes in full fevered splendor. So we wait for that first Papi at bat, his slow walk to the batter's box, the crowd rising as one, screaming out "Papi Papi." Fenway Park will be ready for an eruption of epic proportions. One home run will bring the house down, and NESN and the radio network with it. And there will be September joy, in our hearts and souls. Two? I cannot even imagine. Oh, and we do end the season at home with two against Tampa Bay, and three against the Orioles......just in case. But the time is NOW.
The stage is set. The seats are ready to be filled by 36,000 fans who have one thing on their minds, in their hearts. And that is to see our beloved DH, the man we call Big Papi, make history. I'll be watching. You will be too. ENJOY.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Two Little Two Late....But NICE!!

For the first time since July 4th 1973, the Boston Red Sox swept a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium. Yes, it's been that long. And they did it by pounding the Yankee bullpen. Pounded hard! Wright and Mussina were great in each start, but the Sox scored 4 runs in the 7th off Ron Villone in the first game and 3 runs off Scott Procter, Mike Myers and Farnsworth to take the second. Mike Timlin saved both ballgames and the Jeter hitting streak is dust. Now if only I could have written something similar, oh, say, last month when things were tight and pulses were pounding. But hey, we prevented them from clinching at our expense, and that's what I was hoping for. We couldn't ask for anything more.
An off day today before the hot Minnesota Twins come to Fenway. David Ortiz is sitting at 49 homers. Watch for Fenway to erupt when he launches number 50. At home. In the next three days. The stuff of dreams.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

HA HA!!!!!!!!

The New York Yankees will have to go on the road to clinch the AL East.

Peter here, and there will be a full wrap up on this, the glorious game number one, and the nightcap...first thing Monday morning. But we can all say this together, right Yankee celebration! NOT TODAY! NOT WHILE WE'RE IN TOWN!!

PAPI And The Number 49 Get Together!!!!!

Yes, yes, Big Papi tied up the game with his 49th. Stand and cheer! Long way to go, but, I'm smiling!!!!!!!

Post Season Peter Thoughts....Just A Few. As Only I can Express Them

So it's a little before 9AM on a lazy warm Sunday morning. Reality, weather wise, will sink in during the day Tuesday, when a strong cold front brings today and Monday's mid-eighties down to near normal territory. And for mid-September, here in Southern New England, 95 miles from the Promised Land that we call Fenway Park, normal high temps are in the mid 60s, and normal lows? 52 or so. Pleasent leaf changing color weather.
I just read an article from the Globe. The subject? The NY Yankees. What it says, and I will feed you a little blurb of it, may make you frown. But beneath those first-to-surface emotions will be a gentle agreement, that the writer is right. And we have to do everything we can to prevent the "eventual (maybe) outcome." Read on, and I'll be back

"As the adage says, championships are not won on paper. But the New York Yankees, far and away baseball's best team on paper, should be more than a paper tiger this October.
In fact, the Yankees should win their first World Series of the 21st century, and it might be accomplished as tidily as the Red Sox' 2004 sweep of the St. Louis Cardinals.
If the Yankees fail to make it to the World Series, feel free to call them everything from chokers to underachievers, because this team clearly should win it all."

Peter here. The article goes on to say that the Yankee team is getting stronger. Matsui came back as, Matsui! And that the on-paper juggernaught known as the Yankees is living up to the on-paper hype. Now, and this is me, the guy you love to read, at least most of the time, I say, Sunday September 17 2007, to all the other AL teams, this. It is your duty, to your teammates and fans, to beat the New York Yankees. Hey, they have weaknesses. The starting rotation might look good, but make RJ throw some pitches while being selective, and the same with Moose, wait out Wang and his sinkers, because most will sink low out of the strike zone. Hey, when those trademark sinkers DON'T SINK, while I stand and cheer, hit the sh*t out of it! And mid relief, until a recovering Mo Rivera will come into a playoff game, is a question mark, although we all know (yes, we do!) that he is the best in the business. My point? I have hundreds. But one at a we go. The Yankees can be beaten while they are on their chosen path to the World Series. A team has to step up, be a "stop stick", the kind you see on America's Most Wanted, or on the road if you're a wanted person. I don't think many wanted people read me. I can only think of three. Keep their identity a secret! I'l let Julie know. Has this post been too long winded? Maybe, but the keys were typing and I was watching. HERE IS THE KEY SENTENCE, THE THOUGHT CLOSEST MY THE HEART. we go....There is one AL team that will be in the right place at the right time in this soon to start post season of 2006 that will end the Yankees' dreams. And have an easy time doing it with offense and great pitching. On that day, I will stand and cheer, one with RSN. There. Hope you enjoyed this read. I have to go back now and see what I wrote. And correct incorrectness. I hope you enjoyed this Sunday jumble of thoughts. Oh, and about the two games today? Let's win the first game, so there is no clinch celebration on this 17th day of September. There. I'm finished. Thank's for reading. Now I have to do the Spanish translation version. And then the Yiddish. ya all.

Splitsville USA

The first game was a showcase for Josh Beckett. Derek Jeter, after the game, said that Beckett was the best they've seen him all year. And the bullpen backed him up. 5-2 Sox win.
The second game did not go as much to a Red Sox fan's liking, as Tavarez and the bullpen combined, rather evenly, to give up 7 runs. The Sox got to RJ for 5, but the final score was 7-5 New York. For the Yankees to clich today, they would have to take both games. No way Jose. I say let's win the first one and all the suspense will fly right out the window. Why don't we wave! Oh, and Big Papi hit well, but his base hits stayed in the yard. It would be nice to see him hit one out today. Hmm, let's say, in the ninth inning, with two men on and the score tied. Does that sound good or what? SWEET.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

SOX Win Number One

And there are three to I will leave it at that, for now...a good start..


This is why these two days of baseball are huge for Red Sox fans and Red Sox nation. Of which I am a proud lifetime member. This from a comment on Joy Of Sox, link on your right.

" These 4 games are damned huge..we Red Sox fans do NOT want the Yankees to clinch on our turf. And Yankee Stadium IS our turf when we play on it. Case closed. PERIOD."

Peter here, and OK, if you do read the great blog, Joy Of Sox, you know that the preceding comment was mine to begin with. But it says what I feel. Sure, we have no chance to catch the Yankees or the wild carders, but that's not what is important. I for one will not be able to stomach watching the pinstripers celebrate at our expense. And that's called being a Red Sox fan. For life. Forever. And I love it.

The Bronx Is All Wet.....Paps Back To The Rotation?

A wet Bronx has moved back last night's game to Sunday, forcing the Red Sox and the Yankees to have to play two consecutive day night doubleheaders. At this point in the season, it can't hurt us. And the radar looks good for baseball today, with Sunday looking even better. There will be baseball. There will NOT be any celebrating by the Yankee club. Over our dead bodies.
Jonathon Papelbon gave the indication yesterday that he will be a part of the 2007 rotation. He more than hinted, he came right out and said it. And Keith Foulke said it is his desire to get his body back into pre-2004 form. That remains to be seen, but I'm rooting for him. As for Paps, it will be next to impossible to replace him, and events leading up to first pitch '07 will put his future role into clear focus. My thoughts? If Foulke can turn back the hands of time, great! If not, the club has two choices. One, trade for a closer. Two, put Paps back into the role he thrived in. Time will tell. If the plan is for Paps to go into the rotation, the circumstances much be just right or this club has no rosy future. Plans change. That's the way it is.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Manny Sits? Good Move! And We Must Not Let The Yankees Clinch This Weekend. NO WAY

I suggested just this in a previous post. This, from today's Globe, and then a comment from your writer, me....

"Red Sox manager Terry Francona said after a closed-door meeting with Manny Ramírez yesterday that ``there's a chance" Ramírez, who has been diagnosed with patellar tendinitis in his right knee, will not play the rest of the season."

Peter here, and this, if true, would be a wise decision. Why risk further injury when Manny can have his knee scoped and cleaned and be ready in plenty of time for next season, where he will be batting fourth, right behind our Big Papi? Yes, a wise move....Now it's on to New York. Where I know the team will do its damndest to not let the hated Yankees clinch while playing us. That would be ugly. And right now that's the last thing I'd like to see. Sure, they'll clinch, but they'll be playing someone else when they do. MARK MY WORDS.

Sox Beat O's and Go To Yankee Stadim For A Meaningless Quartet Of Games

The Sox came back and beat the O's last night, and they did it the right way, with single runs in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings to make a winner of Keith Foulke, who said after the game that his location was "on." Better late than never.
And now it's on to Yankee Stadium for single games today and Sunday and a day/night doubleheader tomorrow. And the games are meaningless! I cannot remember a similar situation, at least not in the last 3 years. And I know why. There are no similar situations. This is pre-2003 stuff. And I do not like it. But we have already cast our eyes towards next year, the 2007 season. I hope the front office is able to open up the pursestrings and add to that $125 million dollar payroll. I have one word for them...PITCHING. We'll see you in New York.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

2 Hits.....Two!

Baltimore has beaten the Red Sox twice this year. Bedard started both games. Last night the Red Sox offense was Gabe Kapler and Wily Mo Pena. And that's it. We never had a chance. Tim Wakefield, after his long lay off, is back. He pitched servicably well, without pain. He gave up 4 runs. On other nights he would have had a chance. Last night they couldn't manage 4 HITS. Half that, in fact.
So the last 3 weeks of the season continues in unspectacular fashion, so unlike the first two thirds of first placeness. Those were the days. One more game against the O's before they come to Fenway to finish up the season. Manny was a do not play last night. I will go on record right now, again, and say that he should remain on the bench for the balance of the season, and get his knee taken care of as soon as he can. We want a healthy Manny Ramirez for next year. Or a healthy Manny Ramirez for trade bait. I don't know which way the club is going to go on this matter, but I hope he's with us, batting fourth, right behind Papi. Where he belongs.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Sox Beat O's Again DESPITE Mike Timlin

The Boston Red Sox were breezing in this one, up 6-1 going into the bottom of the ninth in Baltimore. But Mike Timlin had other ideas. A three run home run and three singles later, it was 6-5 and Lopez was pitching with two outs. Thankfully a ground ball to Alex Cora ended it as the Sox continued their mastery of the O's. They are 12-1 against them. Brace yourselves, but take that 12-1, combine it with the 16-2 record against the National League, and, well, you do the math. Not me!
Papi went 0-4 and stands at 48 home runs. Plenty of time. Which is more than I can say about his team. The Yankees are looking stronger and deeper with each passing day. We'll get 'em next year. But there is plenty left to savor in this fall-like month of September. A championship? Not this year. Not this Red Sox team. We root for Papi and his soon to be 50. And smile.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

6 Series, 3 Weeks Of Baseball

Six series left in this season 2006. Baltimore, New York, Minnesota, Toronto, Tampa Bay and Baltimore all take turns against our Red Sox this month. At stake? Papi's quest for 50 plus. Ummmm.....that's about it. Tito and the coaches will be looking at all the young players and the fill-in pitchers to see if any pieces of the '07 puzzle are there, right before his eyes. Our eyes too, as I'll be here to write about every outing, even if the ultimate goal is unreachable. For now. There's always next year. We shall see, won't we?

Monday, September 11, 2006

September 11, 2001. NEVER FORGET.

As I type this I am listening to a "how it happened when it happened" broadcast of that horrible morning of September 11, 2001. On the radio. But you see, I remember that horrific morning much too well. At this exact time, at 10:26, I was on the phone calling loved ones, not that that they were in NYC, but just to make sure they were OK, emotionally. I was lucky. There are many of you, a few I know personally, whose friends, family or loved ones were struck down that day. And I want to say that you are in my thoughts, hopes and prayers. Always. I have much to say abour President's "war on terror", but now is not the time to talk of that man. Now is a time to remember that day, that unspeakable morning, and it is the time to hope and pray that it will never happen again. AMEN.


And that comes straight from the Sweep Nazi's mouth. You might not have met the Sweep Nazi, but perhaps you are aquainted with his cousin from NYC, the Soup Nazi. He wanted me to tell you that he was sick of the Royals coming in here to Fenway and winning games the Red Sox should have. So I took his words and stuck them in the title of this post. That you Mr. Sweep Nazi.
Yesterday was a love fest for newly discovered starter Julian Tavarez, who is Julia no more. The crowd was appreciative of his efforts from the time he spent warming up in the bullpen until his final pitch in the sixth inning. He left after going 5 1/3 and allowing three runs. A lead that was kept safe by the suddenly stingy Boston 'pen. 9-3 final...we take one of three from the "forever for this year" departed KC Royals, and no sweep for them!
An off day looms today, and beyond I see the future. The future is filled with wins and losses, but not enough of one and too many of the other to change the way things are right now. But it will be fun this balance of September and the first few days of October. Papi hit number 48 yesterday, and each time he strolls to the plate I get the feeling that lightning will strike. Strike soon. With a boom!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

The Limbo Rock. And In The End.......

Or, how low can you go? As in set the bar and shimmy under it lower and lower. You remember that song? Well, the Red Sox are doing their best imitation of doing the limbo, striving every day to go lower and lower. The latest example? Another loss bigtime to the KC Royals. A nip and tuck nailbitingly close game turned anything but in the 12th inning as Manny Delcarmen and his team disintergrated before our very eyes. Or in my case, ears, as I was listening to the last 2 innings of the game on the radio. My eyes had grown weary from all the blown chances the team had to score in the 10th and 11th.
This season IS OVER. Nope, there's no official proclamation, no sounding of the funeral horns. Nothing that fancy. It's come to the point where reason and logic take charge over my hopes and my heart. And the voice of reason tells me, tells all of us, that a .500 record over the rest of the season for this team, this pitching staff, would be a good accomplishment. And a .500 record just ain't going to do it. I wish I felt differently, and I will continue to watch them play and write about their exploits. But the wonder of how far this team can go and what it can do is gone. And that hurts.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Today, The Third To Last Saturday Of This Baseball Season 2006

A round of showers, a loss, or a win?? Who knows? But it all starts at 7 PM. Enjoy. I'll be back Sunday early, and for three Sundays to go as season '06 comes down to the end. Some would say we've already reached the end. Me? Final pitch final day, and I will close this book and say goodbye. And not until. Are you with me? Enjoy your Saturday night.

Take A Bow. It's Time

David Ortiz had a monster night, almost single handedly willing his team to take the lead in the 8th inning. And they did, coming back from an 8-3 deficit to take a 9-8 lead heading to the 9th, and what would have been one of the most satisfying wins of the season. But Mike Timlin was as bad as Papi was good. His camo clothing might have been a help in getting him safely out of the clubhouse after the game, because he gave up 2 runs, and he did it in a hurry, to take the loss. A bitter one indeed. The post game interview was a sad thing, as Terry Francona, our brave skipper, seemed to brush away tears at times. Such was the emotional impact of this oh so winnable game. 4 in a row to KC. Yikes! We are running out of time. Quickly.
Night baseball at Fenway with the Royals in town for 2 more. The sooner the better. The sharp sting of last night's loss can be buried quickly with a win. We have no choice if we want the last 3 weeks of the season to mean anything. Anything at all.

Friday, September 08, 2006

TITO Redux

This from today's Herald, and then a comment (surprise!) from me......

"Toss out the balloting for the 10th Player Award and just give the thing to Terry Francona: I’m serious. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I don’t agree with every move the skipper makes (leaving in Curt Schilling for 133 pitches on a cold night in April and allowing a spent Josh Beckett to pitch to Alex Rodriguez a couple of weeks back quickly come to mind). But on a team with an alarming array of injuries, not to mention health scares involving Ortiz and young Jon Lester, Francona has maintained decorum in the clubhouse at a time when flare-ups are not uncommon. Francona seems particularly worn down by all that has gone wrong, and he deserves some kind of public affirmation that he has done a lot of things the right way."

Peter here, and I agree with this blurb from the Herald so much. Terry Francona is our 10th player, and 11th through 28th. He's been hit hard by all of the woes we've experienced this year, the countless injuries, the devastating health news, and the sometimes frequent wrath from fans and media alike. He is not without health problems either. One example? The blood thinners he has to take to combat the threat of blood clots that he has been known to suffer from. And he remains standing. Courage. Fire. Mistakes? Sure, he's made a few. To borrow a line from a Billy Joel song, ".....we're only human. We're supposed to make mistakes." Tito. Listen. Thank you for a job well done. And after the season ends in the first days of October, sit back, recharge. See your doctors. And regain your health. We need you for 2007. And beyond.

Catch 22

That's right. There are only 22 games left in this up and then down 2006 season. A season full of hope and excitement and first place brought back to the depths of reality by injuries to key players. The most debilitating? Jason Varitek. That set the tone for the second half of the season. When smiles turned to frowns and frustration reared its ugly head. The last time I looked, that same frustration has slowly morphed into resignation....resignation that our October dreams are just that-dreams. 22 to play. No time to give up. Not for this group.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Tito, Terry, Our Manager...Please Take care Of Yourself.....

This from today's Globe, with a comment from me to follow. You know I ALWAYS have something to say.....

"Tito is tired, run down, and battling his own health concerns. The jar of Metamucil on his desk is as much a staple as his computer printouts. His circulation problems -- not to mention his own past heart episode -- are constants. The season has exacted its pound of flesh, but the manager resolutely presses on.
His coaches fret about him. They worry about his heart, his legs, his mind-set. They remind him the lineups he's trotted out recently have been a punchline to a sick joke, but Francona does not see the humor. He only sees the losses building, which leads to more hours poring over numbers, more nights sleeping on the couch in the clubhouse, and more opportunities to collapse from exhaustion."

Peter here. And yes, our manager, under the gun every hour of this up and then down season, is under the most critical inspection. By all of us. Yankee fans, baseball fans, hell, every RSN member. And I hope he takes care of himself. No one is more involved in the everyday, every game, between the lines or in the clubhouse stuff than he. So Tito! I'm talking to you.Yo! Take care of yourself. The bleeding from the gums might be explained, as it was by you, as "one blood thinner pill" too many. But blood thinners are serious stuff. You are the healing and bonding force in the clubhouse. Without you? Well, everything would fall apart. And we need you in the future. So take care. Tito? I mean that. And to all my readers, enjoy this rare day off as we march further into the month of September. When dreams come true. Or when we have to take care of our own. The Royals in 28 hours. Ready? Thanks for being here.You'll never be bored. PROMISE.

KO! Kyle Clobbered


Coco Crisp went 3 for 4. The rest of the team? How about 1 for 27. THUD. That sound was the Red Sox pitching staff's return to normalcy. Kyle Snyder did not get out of the 3rd inning as the White Sox scored early and often. And the cricket like sound in the Northeastern part of the United States was really the sound of hundreds of thousands of television sets powering off at around, oh, say, 8:20 last night. Mercy.
Ex Red Sox Anibal Sanchez pitched the first no hitter in more than two years. Traded to the Marlins earlier this topsy turvey year, he spun a beauty. The Red Sox had no need for him because of a glut of starting pitching, a surplus of arms. Look around, everyone. Where is that surplus now? So much can happen in five months. This year's Red Sox team is proof positive of that.
The KC Royals come into town for the first of three tomorrow night. Revenge should be on our minds. Revenge for the 3 game sweep when last we were in KC. And the seeds for this disappointing September were planted, soon to grow and flourish.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Yankees Do Something Nice!

This is from today's NY Daily News. And what a nice on. I'll be back for a comment....

"It sometimes seems as if the rivalry between the Yankees and Red Sox knows no bounds, but there is always a time for perspective. The Bombers sent a bouquet of flowers to ailing Sox pitcher Jon Lester last week, sending along their best for the young pitcher who is being treated for a rare form of cancer.
The flowers were seen in the Sox clubhouse last night. Lester, 22, isn't expected to rejoin the Sox this season as he undergoes treatment for anaplastic large cell lymphoma.
The Yankees are particularly sensitive to such serious health issues since Joe Torre is a prostate cancer survivor and had to miss part of the 1999 season while being treated."

Peter here. I remember all too well the first game that Joe Torre returned from his health leave of absence. It was at our Fenway, and the crowd rose as one and gave him a standing ovation that brought him to actual tears. Joe Torre is the best manager in baseball, at least in my opinion. And I will never forget the Fenway ovation. You know what? Neither will he.

September Mini Surge

Kason Gabbard...the good news? He pitched wonderfully for seven innings last night at Fenway as the Sox zipped, and I do mean zipped, to a 1-0 two hour ten minute victory. The bad news? He had to be pulled after seven innings and 80 pitches because of a muscle pull in his side, much like Curt Schilling is suffering from. We might see him on the mound again this year. But we might not. But what we saw last night was a joy to watch. He had his curveball darting in and out of the strike zone much like a hummingbird, wings moving impossibly fast, darting to and through the branches of a backyard garden. It was swing and miss, swing and miss. And there were 10 ground ball outs to go with those swings and misses. So it was nice that Trot Nixon, who had doubled, was able to come home and score thanks to Coco Crisp's 2 out 4th inning single. 1-0 Sox in the fourth, 1-0 Sox final score. Nice!
Jonathon Papelbon received the news he wanted to hear. We all wanted to hear. No tear in his shoulder. Rest ought to do the trick, but it might be an off season's worth of rest. I mean, how could the Sox NOT rest him for the remainder of the season. So I'd like to be one of the first to say thank you Jonathon, on a season well done. Let's not risk something more serious. Not now. You'll be fine. And we will too. See you next year.
The final game of the Chicago series is tonight, at 7 PM. Sweep? It would be nice. We are still a ways behind the Twins. We need help. But we have to do our part. And what's that? WIN.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Amidst The Rain This Afternoon...GOOD NEWS! YES, Right Now!

And this, from The Globe....

"The quickly recovering Red Sox lineup will receive another boost tonight after the team, as expected, cleared David Ortiz to return to action.
"The ongoing monitoring of David Ortiz has not identified any further problem,” the Red Sox released in a statement attributed to Dr. Thomas Gill. “As a result, the team of consultants caring for David has met and decided to allow him to return to play today."

Peter here. And now we can cheer. No one here can hear me cheer, but that's OK. PAPI CAN! Enjoy the game tonight. 7 PM at our Fenway.

More On Last Night. As A Sox Fan, And A Fan Of My Mom. Always A Fan Of Life. That's Me!

Peter here. Who else would pop up here but me? And oh yes, last night was sweet. And 6 games back for the wild card (7 in the loss) is do-able. Our rotation? Different, but who's to say they can't jell like Junket. Wow, I loved Junket as a kid. For those of you who have never heard of Junket, it's Jello with milk. Brings back memories of my Mom and her great breakfasts. And lunches. And dinners. And I just miss her so much! I do. Oh well........back to today. We will win every game we can. That sounds, to me, that we have not given up. I know I haven't. And I know the players left standing will NEVER give up. And thank you for making my blog the number one baseball blog on the baseball list Top 100.......I am so happy. And hey, kiss your Moms! And enjoy Red Sox baseball, while we have it. Thanks. For being here. I am touched.......

Fenway Magic, If Only For An Evening

It seemed as if we were back in June, when the Sox were riding high and doing it from first place. The good starting pitching. The capable relief. And an extra inning walk off home run by Carlos Pena. Magic was in the air. And for an instant, all the troubles of the past 6 weeks were gone as a small white flashing streak of a baseball headed out of the park. 3-2 Sox, as they play the role of the spoiler about as well as it can be played. I would like to remind everyone that the wild card cannot be counted out. 6 games can be overcome. But we're going to have to do it with a transplanted team of pitchers. So we will.
Jon Papelbon's MRI, thought to be scheduled for yesterday, was moved back to today because of the holiday. And it looks like Big Papi will be in there, tonight, against the White Sox. We need his bat. We miss his bat. And his smile.

Monday, September 04, 2006

CYN and her Jon Lester Day......

Cyn, our friend of Red Sox Chick fame, which is listed under links on the righthand side of this page, is doing a good thing. A really good thing for our friend Jon Lester, so recently diagnosed with cancer at the age of 22. Please go to the site she has set up. Here is the link. And Cyn, thank you. For those of you who have never visited her blog, GO THERE! She is the ultimate Red Sox fan---an optimist who knows her baseball peerlessly. Here is the link to her Jon Lester site. Don't wait, just enter it in your browser now. Thank you everyone, and thanks Cyn. You always amaze. Everyday. Everyway.

Foggy Fenway Funk

The uninspired baseball continues at Fenway, or anywhere the Red Sox take the field, for that matter. In their last 14 games, they've gone 4-10 and batted .194. Yawnnnn....oh, it's early. Sorry. The way the club is playing brings out that kind of enthusism. No hitting, average at best pitching, and a whole lot of players limping around or sitting on the bench. Josh Beckett was true to his ERA, giving up three runs in 5 innings while only throwing 77 pitches. I guess Tito doesn't want to wear him down. Breslow, Corey and Burns (??) closed out this lackluster performance as the Jays crept to within 2 games of our listless and boring Sox. I could have more fun telling you the weather!
The White Sox come into town for a three game set that 4 weeks ago would have had Fenway Park humming with excitement.
No excitement, with or without humming, at this lowest of low points in the season. We can only hope that Paps' MRI goes well, but even he has hinted that he suspects something in his shoulder is torn, frayed, or amiss. Torn, frayed or amiss. Sums up this season in a nutshell. And so it goes.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Goodnight At Sundown...Give Or Take A Few Minutes

The handwriting might be on the wall, or on the floor, the wallpaper, maybe even the car seat. Or, God forbid, elsewhere. So I don't even have to tell you what's on my mind right now........ I don't even know what I'm trying to say. But, you see, I do. So..........don't pull up a chair, I'll only keep you for a minute or so. The Sox offense seems to be in remmission yet again. I've been watching the game on and off, then on again, sporadically throughout this early evening. I've just noticed that the sun went down, and I missed it live...I'll have to catch the replay. What I'm trying to say is safe, have a great holiday weekend, and I will write something or other (probably the other) about the game in the morning. Early. I just wanted to try and make you smile.
Did I??

One Is The Loneliest Number. To The Toppermost Of The Poppermost

That's what the song says, but right now I feel anything but. And why? Look at that number one on the right side of the screen. Yes, right there! Wow. Thank you everyone for reading, everyday. I'll keep writing if you keep reading. As John Lennon told his soon to be world famous band mates when posed the question, "Where are we going, Johnny??" And John would say, "We're going to the toppermost of the poppermost!" I feel like I'm there. You made my rainy gloomy Sunday bright as a dream's sunshine can be.

Forgettable Baseball.....Overmatched By A.J.

That's the key word for yesterday's game-OVERMATCHED. For the makeshift, start now sit later Red Sox offense was symied by an A.J. Burnett who was hitting his spots, in and out, up and down, fastball or slider or curve or, well, it seemed whatever he wanted to throw whenever he wanted to thrown it. So a tip of the cap is in order. We was beaten!
3's all folks. Our pitching wasn't so bad, if you thrown out DiNardo's 4 walks. It's just that the offense was off track, off stride, off balance, hell, off everything. Thank A.J. for that.
4 PM baseball today, a late start to let the rains of last night and this morning pass away to the north and east. Josh Beckett, who has been pitching well of late, tries to agravate the Blue Jays rather than the almost healed cut on his finger. Go for it Josh!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Silent Bats...Yet Again....Jays Win

5-1...and a full wrap-up tomorrow early morning. A.J. Burnett had complete game stuff. Until the morning, take care all!

The Uninjured Minority Played A Game Last Night

Amongst the injury news, the latest additions being Jon Lester (see previous posts), Curt Schilling (tightness near his shoulder-no start Monday), and Jonathon Papelbon (shoulder tightness-day to day....OR HE'S DONE FOR THE SEASON...we do not know), the healthy ones played a game last night, and played well. The Red Sox won 2-1, with Kyle Snyder playing the role of pitching ace perfectly. His 7 shutout innings were just what the doctor ordered. On second thought, we're keeping the doctors busy enough without mentioning them any more than necessary. Mike Lowell's second home run in as many games put the Sox up 1-0, a lead they hung onto until the ninth, when a wayward Papelbon throw allowed a run in. And after 11 pitches, he was gone, departing after he felt a searing pain in the front of his shoulder, a pain that he said was plain old "scary." For all of us.
Saturday baseball to come....a game that has been moved up to a 1:05 start because of weather concerns. Oh, and I've never seen a stretch with this many injuries all at once.We go on, battered, bruised, but never giving up.

Friday, September 01, 2006

From The Globe, at 6:30 EDT

Jon Lester's family asked the Red Sox to release the following statement:

Jon Lester has been diagnosed with a treatable form of anaplastic large cell lymphoma and will begin treatment within the coming week.

Jon and his family wish to thank all those involved in his care at Massachusetts General Hospital. Our gratitude also extends to the Red Sox organization which has provided Jon and his family much needed support during this ordeal.

We ask that you respect our need for privacy during this difficult time.


My goodness. It was just announced by the club that tests on our young lefty Jon Lester came back positive for cancer......say a prayer. I just heard, and any further details would be best learned from the media. I am heartbroken.

A Red Sox State Of Mind....Always

This from today's Globe....My comments after........"The Red Sox officially declared the end of their efforts to win in 2006 when they announced that David Wells had been traded to the Padres at 7:47 p.m., in the bottom of the second inning.
Raising the white flag over Fenway Park makes sense at this hour. Poor management, poor play, a plague of late-season injuries, and a couple of player hospitalizations involving potential life-threatening issues conspired to sink the season before the first of September."

Peter here. Maybe a little harsh? Or is it the cold hard truth? Yes, we needed to get something in return for the Boomer, who was so great in the last month of his Red Sox career. And he was the calm and cool force that the club needed on the mound when everything started to go downhill, and downhill fast. you agree with this assessment? Did the Sox fold too soon? If you ask me, with all the medical uncertainties that surround the club right now, dealing David to the Padres was the right move. We have a prospect, a catcher who WILL make an impact in the future. And we are way behind in the pursuit of the AL East. And just as far behind in the wild card race. So I say that the move was timely and correct. But give up? Nobody thinks this club will give up. There are many questions to be answered in this month of September. The foremost? The health of Jon Lester, God willing. And less important but still vital are Manny, Tek, Trot, and the guys playing right now through their injuries. There are so many games left this month, home games, and I'll be cheering until the last echoes of baseball 2006 reside only in our memories. Where they last forever.

All Together Now! Breathe

Ah, to be home, where the club and its fans got one piece of good news. And that is that Big Papi is out of the hospital and will be in uniform tomorrow to pick up his pusuit of the RBI and HR crowns, and MVP, too. The news on Jon Lester was more scattered and not as bright, as the club remained nearly mum in deference to the Lester family. We can only hope for the best. And in goodbye news, take care Boomer. You were the stabilizing force when the team desperately needed one. Your last 4 starts were gems, and I for one hope you bring the Padres to a world championship. This year! That would be much better than if the team from a couple states down did it. So much better.
And in the game, the Boston Red Sox broke their hideous 6 game downer streak with a 6-4 victory. Alex Cora's fly ball glanced off Alex Rios' glove and then bare hand to fall into the right field grandstand, giving the Sox a 2 run lead that Paps made sure was enough, and good for his 35th save. Can 40 be that far behind? Truly a remarkable season. Just think....where would we be without him? Everyone have a healthy happy holiday weekend. I'll be popping up here and there to check in. Count on it.